CEO Letter: February 2018
“‘I know it when I see it’ is a colloquial expression by which a speaker attempts to categorize an observable fact or event, although the category is subjective or lacks clearly defined parameters.”
As I frequently mention, our culture is based on the solid foundation of our mission, vision and values. When many people make the decision to become a part of our team, it is due to the fact that we are not structured like a typical non-profit. Nor do we fall into the same cadence or configuration of a standard corporation. I take great pleasure in meeting and knowing employees in all of our locations. I enjoy not wearing a suit to work every day. I take pride in the fact that I am addressed by my first name instead of “Mr. Behler.”
In other organizations, many employees strive to make their way to “The Corner Office.” For some it is status, others a rite of passage and some believe that is where the most influential and important people reside. If you have had the opportunity to visit the corporate office, our layout is a far cry from that model. We essentially have three corner offices: two are located upstairs and one is on the main level. One of the upstairs offices is cramped as it houses three of our AbilityOne administrative staff, the other is where you will find our CFO Nicolle Laporte. I have chosen to have my office on the main floor and while it is located on a corner, it is not glamorous by any means. I made a conscious decision to be where I can interact with as many of our staff, clients and visitors as possible.
There is a lot of value and motivation for me being able to authentically connect with those around me. This might mean I learn firsthand about a job one of our clients just obtained or a Commercial Services employee stops to tell me what they used their gift card to purchase. Maybe it’s an employee with a disability who has become comfortable enough to stop by my office after my frequent “How’s it going?” that I call from my desk. Due to these opportunities, I understand when our organization is running on all eight cylinders because “I know it when I see it.” Connections between teammates and stakeholders is imperative to success. I too look forward to my email inbox to see the next company newsletter where I can learn something from the employee spotlight or a unique success from the weekly updates. These are ways in which we can all “know it when we see it” and take pride in the strides our team is making.
When I speak about how we deliver our mission, it is by sharing illustrations of the manner in which our employees create success. If our organization was a race, it would be a relay; it takes an anchor to hold the team down and a number of different individuals with different speeds and abilities to get us across the finish line. Each of us play a different role each day and I know when the right players are in the game when I see it. I am thankful to be a part of this team and to have one of the best seats in the house to see the magic happen.